Up until this point, the last time Tweezer had been played was the first night of Telluride–needless to say, it was looming, hard. We figured Tweezer, one longer than 6 minutes, would come out in the second set. After the pre-show music abruptly stopped and Phish took the stage we found out that Tweezer would be the show’s opener. Although this wasn’t exploratory, but rather a straight forward rocker, this was one of the most exciting openers they could have gone with–book ending the entire show with a Tweezer/Tweeprise combo. The last time Phish opened a show with Tweezer was Hampton 2003.
After an energetic AC/DC Bag (it’s funny how much better this song is in 2010 compared to 2009, now) came the rather rare On Your Way Down. Divided Sky followed and was again played in a perfect setting (Telluride before), this one being more intense than the last. After an interesting Water in the Sky > Moma Dance > Farmhouse combo, a frantic, but yet again painfully standard, Bowie closed.
Ghost and YEM still loomed–But what would be the opener? The last time Ghost opened a set was 7/27/2003 and YEM seemed to only be a second set closer in 2010. Trey scratched out the beginning of Ghost to open the set (I know, why can’t it start with soft bass & drums and digital delay loops again? Whatever). This Ghost, while not breaking mold, blew doors down. Trey 3.0 is not capable of the tension/release jamming he once was known for anymore, however, this is the best example of his perfectly rocking with his cohorts once again. Trey actually comes to a peak in this, one that comes naturally with the rest of the band, not one that is awkwardly forced. After Phish just manhandled the faces and general innocence of all in attendence, they thought it would be nice to do the musical equivalent of taking us all out to breakfast to tell us everything will be alright–they beautifully went into Theme. Theme is NOT a song I normally give much thought to, in fact, I think it can often kill the energy of a second set (see 2009 Toyota Park). This Theme absolutely took off–it set Alpine Valley ablaze. I’m pretty sure I heard fire trucks coming because they thought there was and emergency.
Out of the end of Theme, Phish dove right back into the unexpected and Trey started BBFCFM. Ghost > Theme > BBFCFM as a set opener? Are you joking, Phish? It was apparent Phish was putting everything on the table for their two-night weekend stand in East Troy.
At this point, my friend turned to me and said “You Enjoy Myself?” I responded “oh comon, don’t get greedy now, YEMs only close sets now. Sure enough–the opening notes to YEM came out. In a version reminiscent to last year’s MSG version, this was pure rock. Trey took hold of the jam and just soared. During the vocal jam, Trey quietly started the opening to Piper–probably the best piper of the year, too. This version winded up and down the ski hills of East Trey, messing with everyone’s mind with the impressive leads of all the band members. Trey even included a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” tease. The jam eventually became trippy and ambient, alluding to what would come next–2001.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps came out of 2001, which everyone thought would close the set. Trey’s guitar cried like it should in this version before going into a rocking Character Zero encore. While many 3.0 Character Zeros feature a distorted and almost discombobulated Trey, this one found it’s roots but exploding, leaving a huge “!” to end the second set here at Alpine.
The band closed with yet another quadruple four song encore; Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ > Cavern > Joy > Tweezer Reprise.
Phish left Alpine Valley yet again with the roof blown clear off the venue–making a statement that people will be sorry if they don’t help sell this nearly 50,000 person venue out next year.
Set 1: Tweezer, AC/DC Bag, On Your Way Down, The Divided Sky, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky > The Moma Dance > Farmhouse, David Bowie
Set 2: Ghost > Theme From the Bottom > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, You Enjoy Myself > Piper > Also Sprach Zarathustra > While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Character Zero